How Jesus and Santa Wound Up in the Same Story at Our House

I was that child in preschool. You know, the one who says “Santa isn’t real!” Yes, in preschool. *FYI, my parents were called about it. Haha.

My Dad told me at a very young age the truth about Santa. He used to tell me that he thought it was wrong of him to lie to me, but it gradually turned into something so much more.

Growing up, and even to this day, nothing Santa Claus is allowed in my parents’ house. At first I agreed with the logic. We don’t want to contribute to the "fake" story because it might take away from the true meaning of Christmas. Obviously, Jesus Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas. That being said, for those people who do not believe in God or Jesus, I’m not sure why they celebrate, and for that matter they probably shouldn’t. It’s a religious holiday to celebrate the birth of our Savior… it’s not about Santa, or presents, or family. *Yes, it bothers me that atheists celebrate CHRISTmas. But, it's not my place to judge.

As I got older, things got uncomfortable when it came to Santa and Jesus. I tried to explain to my friends and coworkers why we do nothing “Santa.” Even when I moved in with Gene, I still didn't (he was a good sport). No cards, decorations, no stories, etc. I always watch the movies, but that was only happening once I moved out really. Anyway, people used to almost snicker about it. Like we were wrong to not participate in the whole Santa gimmick. Mind you, this was well before I had even thought seriously about having children. I just brushed it off, but it kind of hurt each time it happened. It’s just how WE do the holiday.

My Dad got a little crazy with it later down the road. “Rearrange the letters in Santa and it spells Satan. Santa was created by Satan and it is a way to take the holiday away from Jesus.” I get it, I do, but I’m not sure I’d go that extreme. He once was on the verge of telling all the kids in line to see Santa that he wasn’t real. To hear him tell story he did tell them, but I don’t know that he would actually do that. I mean, he has a heart so I wouldn’t think he would devastate the children like that. However, now that I have children, it’s a constant battle with his truth telling. Emma came up to me just last week and said “Pawpaw said that Santa is bad!” When I confronted him he said “I told her that he’s evil because he is.” Don’t get upset, his heart is in the right place.

But here’s my “beef”: Without getting into the whole “she’s my child not yours, so it’s not your place,” because I don’t necessarily feel that way, I feel like all we are doing is confusing her.

Her friends and the teachers at school are all telling her he is real. If we go around telling her that he isn’t, what is she going to think about Jesus? Here we are telling her that Jesus is real, and how He was born to save us all, yet she can’t see him in person and we read about him in a Book. See where I’m going with this? "If Santa isn’t real, is Jesus?" I can see the question brewing. How would I be able to explain that to my three year old?

So, for now, I’m allowing Santa. I’ll tell her the truth one day, and why we went along with the whole “Santa thing” in the first place, but for now I’ll let her buy into MY VERSION of it all. You see, I’ve told her a different version of the story, and I show her pictures that I come across of Santa worshiping Jesus so that she can see it with her eyes. It’s important to me that she knows why we celebrate Christmas and why we give each other gifts. I want her to enjoy the holiday and enjoy it for the right reason. I don’t want to fill her head with doubt.   

For those of you curious about my version of Christmas, here it is:

Christmas is a birthday celebration; we celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. But because Baby Jesus isn’t here with us, we give presents to the people that we love or that have taken care of us in a way (think teachers, mailmen, neighbors, etc.). Plainly said, we give gifts to each other because we can’t give gifts to Him. One day, a long time ago, a man named Santa wanted to make sure that every good boy and girl got something on Christmas morning for Jesus’ birthday, so he brings one present to each girl and boy who loves Jesus and does the good things that Jesus would want us to do (pray at night, be good to our parents, don’t be mean to friends, take care of our belongings, etc.).

And that’s it in a nutshell. We’ve always had a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus every Christmas, and this will also help Emma understand that it’s His birthday we are celebrating. The gift from Santa won’t be wrapped under the tree, so that she understands the wrapped ones are all from us, not from Santa. I’ll set up the manger Christmas morning before they’re up and I’ll let her put Jesus in his bed (it’s breakable so I don’t dare put it out now). I’ll make sure that we read the story of Baby Jesus and Christmas so that she knows it’s not all about the presents she is getting. I’ll basically do whatever I can to make sure she knows why we do all of it.

Now, my Dad will still be hard-headed and try to assure us that his way is the right way, but I will continue on and do Christmas exactly as I’ve outlined. My girls won’t lessen their chances of going to heaven just because of a "man" named Santa bringing a toy. Gene and I will continue to teach Emma and Alice about Jesus and when they’re older and can understand more we will tell them more stories of Him and how it all relates to their lives and the world today. We are doing the best that we can right now, and I’m pretty sure that Jesus Himself would be happy about it.  

I hope that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas, and that you also share the story of Jesus’ birth with your loved ones.

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